Posted May 9 , 2013

Mental Health Week

Mental health in the workplace is a $51 billion elephant in the boardroom

Partners for Mental Health kicks off its Not Myself Today campaign during Mental Health Week in workplaces across the country

TORONTO - Employers can no longer afford to ignore mental health at work; it's the elephant in the boardroom that is costing Canadian employers and the economy $51 billion dollars a year. It's also keeping employees from reaching their full potential as they suffer the immeasurable costs of stigma and lack of support associated with mental illness.

Today, 500, 000 Canadians missed work because of mental health issues and according to a recent study conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Partners for Mental Health, nearly half of working Canadians agree that work and place of work is the most stressful part of their lives. The survey also revealed that 16 per cent of Canadians feel that work is a frequent or ongoing source of feelings of depression, anxiety or other mental health symptoms. Yet, these employees are often keeping these feelings and issues secret rather than confiding in their employers, colleagues or friends due to the possibility of stigma, discrimination and lack of support in the workplace. In fact, the same Ispos Reid study indicated that two in three Canadians would not have an open discussion with their boss about their mental illness.

"The detrimental effects of unmanaged mental illness in the workplace - from the impact on the individual, to loss of productivity, and to increased disability claims - confirms the critical need for businesses and individuals to take action when it comes to mental health" says Jeff Moat, President, Partners for Mental Health. "Even though 44 per cent of workers say they have or have had mental health issues, people are still not talking openly about it in the workplace. This has to change for the sake of business and the long-term health of all employees."

In order to help drive change, the Not Myself Today campaign launches today coinciding with Mental Health Week in Canada. This campaign is designed to educate and engage Canadians on the issues of mental health in the workplace. It encourages businesses to step-up and invest in mentally healthy workplaces.

A key component of the program involves participating in a Not Myself Day @ Work whereby businesses shine a spotlight on workplace mental health and engage individuals in meaningful ways to facilitate improvement.

The national charitable organization, Partners for Mental Health is leading the initiative as part of their mandate to transform the way Canadians think about and support mental health.

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